Have you ever looked at a person and thought to yourself "Man, who peed in their cereal this morning"? Chances are, that person you saw was me on some dainty occasion.
Most times, I am great at viewing my situation with perspective, but that's not always enough. I sometimes can't seem to shake that blue feeling that washes over my body in waves.
For those moments that time permits, It's healthy to sit with those feelings and ride them out. Our body and mind are so intricate that they are programmed to alert us when some element of our lives goes unresolved. They come in the form of thoughts and feelings, and ignoring them can be more detrimental to long-term well being and peace of mind. What the media and even those closest to you can fail to teach you is that real life is not a series of highlight reels. We are all finally coming to that realization, but not without a lot of wasted time behind us.
One can not, for all intents and purposes, be happy all of the time. Factor in the state of the world, the inconsistent nature of others, and our own personal tragedies and you've got a recipe for daily misery. For many, the thought of being marshmallow rainbows and sunshine flowers about essentially everything seems bonkers. I would venture to say, in fact, that it's simply unnatural. And so this is to say, that we are all entitled to be unhappy, angry, confused, lost, practically any feeling that ties to the state of being human. Part of living a complete life includes hardship, and learning to weather these times will give you powerful tools to use in other areas of your life. That's where optimism really comes into play.
A common misconception of optimism for many that have not been able to access it in the past revolves around its nature. I've been told by many "You're just a naturally happy person, it's harder for someone like me". There are a few things I am certain of, one being: you can't control the degree of hardship in your life. A universal truth is that many people will experience more varieties of difficulty, more often than their peers. This can lead to an isolating mentality, and spiraling will almost seem inevitable. The power of optimism is not in eliminating struggles, but in that person's ability to take control of the one thing in their power- the way they feel.
A common theme around optimistic people you will find is not the lack of power they have to eliminate their difficulties, but in the well-being they create for themselves in the midst of the chaos. In fact, the most optimistic people I have ever met are those with the least to smile about! Joblessness, unjust charges, an unsupportive family- these are all problems that anyone can face at any given time, and often they don't have simple solutions. Except for the optimist.
All these downfalls can be happening simultaneously, and still, an optimistic person will remain centered and able use perspective to their advantage.
In other words, optimism isn't so much a scapegoat for the human experience we all share. Rather, it's a coping mechanism for those time's when we need a steady foundation to cling to. Very similar to the way religious people pray to god or a workaholic finds solace in their projects, but without the complications.The best part is, there is no secret recipe, no hidden agenda, no sacrifice necessary; anyone can be an optimist. We all have the capability to view the brighter side of any situation presented to us.
The only concrete difference between the optimist (and everyone else) seems to be their steadfast ability to relinquish control for acceptance. Acceptance in the present moment, and trust in their conviction to see the forest through the trees.
I guess the real question is, why aren't we all optimists?